State tourney Tigers: Summit High golfers Ryley Cibula, Logan Pappas describe what it took to qualify for states (podcast)
Heading into his final hole last week at the regional golf tournament at Indian Peaks Golf Course in Lafayette, Summit High sophomore Ryley Cibula dejectedly walked up to his Tiger teammate, Logan Pappas.
Just one hole prior, 16 holes into his regional tournament round, Cibula was playing the round of his life. A year after he averaged 18-hole scores in the 90s as a freshman player, Cibula was on pace to score well below 80 and well below the cutline to qualify for the state tournament.
But then on his 17th hole of the day, the sixth hole at Indian Peaks, it all blew up for Cibula. Or so it seemed. He shot a quadruple bogey 8 on that Par-4 sixth hole. So with a bit of a backup on the tee box leading up to the 7th hole, Cibula broke the bad news to Pappas.
“He came up to me with kind of head hanging low,” Pappas described. “And he said: ‘You’re never going to believe what just happened.’ And I was like, ‘what?’ And he was like, ‘I just quadruple-bogeyed that.’ And I’m like, ‘oh no.’”
Cibula bounced back though on that final hole, shooting par to achieve a final 18-hole score of 7-over, 79 — just at the state tournament cutoff.
For Cibula, it capped a fantastic improvement in his individual golf game over the past 12 months, during which he practiced and played day-in and day-out through the spring and summer to fine tune his game.
And for Pappas — who shot a 6-over, 78 in his own right at the regional — it meant he’d have a teammate that is the yin to his golfing style’s yang joining him at the state tourney. The tourney takes place Monday and Tuesday’s at The Club at Flying Horse in Colorado Springs.
LISTEN: Summit High golfers Ryley Cibula and Logan Pappas chat qualifying for the state championship, Tiger Woods’ resurgence ahead of the Ryder Cup and advice on playing Summit County’s several courses
“I was feeling really comfortable out there on the course,” Pappas recalled of the regional. “I knew if I could get into the short grass, get into the fairway, I was doing good.”
While Pappas sports a compact, strong frame that allows him to play a more power-off-the-tee-box style, Cibula and his slender frame exude more of a stay-in-the-fairway style. Just as the two state-tournament qualifiers definitely have different styles, they also came to the sport through different routes.
For Pappas, he’s been dabbling with golf as long as he can remember. It stems back to his time following his father around on a golf course, or at church, with a plastic set of Fischer Price golf clubs. Along the way of his sporting childhood, though, Pappas left his passion for golf behind for his success as a moguls skier and as a cross-country runner. But after his third ACL surgery before his sophomore year, Pappas pivoted to the Summit High golf team.
“I didn’t even know we had a golf team until my sophomore year,” he said.
Two years later, as opposed to Cibula’s sudden and stark progression in his golf scores from last fall to this autumn, Pappas has steadily improved. As for Cibula, he attributed his rapid improvement to the off-season one-on-one matchups he had with fellow Summit High golfer Tyler Nakos.
This fall Nakos was actually the team’s best golfer according to the scorecards. Averaging a score in the low 80s, Nakos embodied consistency for the Tigers team, though he didn’t shoot low enough at the regionals to qualify for state. Months ago, though, he and Cibula played each other often in 18-hole, one-on-one matches. Whether they were fully dialed in with silence pervading the course, or whether it was more of a hangout session complete with music, the two battled each other. Nakos won the unofficial series 11-8-1.
Despite dropping more than he won to Nakos, Cibula picked up technical and mental elements of being a consistent golfer from his friend. It was the main takeaway from quite the golfing offseason for Cibula, as he played so much, in part, thanks to his job as a cook at the Breckenridge Golf Club.
The gig provided a cheap way to get on the course, and he took advantage of it, purchasing a new set of clubs and finding his way on the course whenever he could.
So in a sport known for its individual element, there certainly was a team variable that helped propel Cibula and Pappas to qualify for next week’s state tournament. Even though the talented Nakos won’t be there with them, he certainly played a part in the program’s progression.
“We are such good friends, we compete a lot,” Cibula said of Nakos. “And we are really competitive toward each other when we play, so that adds the whole mental game toward when you go into a round and you are kind of ready. Like, if I’m about to beat Tyler with a putt, like a 10-foot putt, and make it, I’ll get really excited. So I think that rolls over into the tournaments.”
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